Salons are not only finding it difficult to adjust to the new Covid-19 regulations they must operate under, some are also facing electricity cuts and a slow start to business.
Sonia Anywu, the owner of Precious hair salon in Randburg since 2015, said the first day of business was a nightmare because when she arrived at the premises, the electricity was switched off.
She said she asked the landlord why the electricity was off and he said she owed rent for the past three months, when the salon was closed due to the lockdown.
“I cannot afford to pay any rent right now. The salon is my only form of income for daily income. I have no other source of income,” said Anywu.
“I have four employees whom I told not to come to work because business was slow on the first day. I only had one customer today. The least my landlord can do is give me a grace period of six months to pay off the arrears in rent.”
Anywu was warned by her landlord that if she did not pay her outstanding rent, the furniture in the salon would be removed.
Speaking to The Citizen with tears rolling down her face, Anywu explained how difficult it was to provide for her two children during the time she was not able to operate because she did not have any income.
“Government has neglected us during this time. The salon is my only way of surviving and providing food for my family,” she said. “The business would do well if we were not in this difficult position, but now I need to braid my customer’s hair in the dark because there is no electricity.”
Anywu said she provided her customers with hand sanitiser when they arrived and she was still in the process of buying gloves to use when working with customers’ hair.
Elrika Viljoen, who owns a hairdresser in Wierdapark, Centurion, said she was not worried about social distancing in her salon because she did not have employees and would assist one client at a time.
She said she would sanitise stations in between clients’ appointments and bookings would need to be confirmed before the client arrived.
“I will only be helping one client at a time, ensuring I’ve booked sufficient time for each client so that they don’t overlap because I need time in between every client to sanitise all areas and equipment after each service,” she said.
“I have a sanitising station at the door. Clients need to wear a mask and so will I. I will also be using disposable caps and wear gloves throughout the whole service which will be disposed after use.
“No more double bookings and overcrowded salons. This is better for building relationships with your clients and giving them the time and attention that they need. Something we also forgot about and stopped caring about. Every day was about how many clients you could squeeze in just to make money,” Viljoen said.
Video: Carlos Muchave